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Secretary Napolitano Announces Southwest Border Task Force

Release Date: 
June 4, 2009

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact: 202-282-8010

Albuquerque, N.M.—U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano announced today the formation of the Homeland Security Advisory Council (HSAC) Southwest Border Task Force, a diverse group of national security experts charged with examining the Department’s efforts along the U.S.-Mexico border and providing advice and recommendations directly to the Secretary.

“This task force, comprised of law enforcement, elected officials and national security experts from around the country, will advise the Department on key issues facing communities along the Southwest border,” said Secretary Napolitano. “I have asked this group to present me with concrete recommendations to address the complex challenges we face in this region, and their collective expertise will be a critical asset as we work to secure the border while facilitating legal travel and trade.”

The new task force underscores DHS’ emphasis on Southwest border security in response to ongoing drug cartel violence in Mexico. Secretary Napolitano asked the 20-member group to focus on two major challenges: ensuring rigorous inspections processes at ports of entry while facilitating commerce; and assessing the practical consequences of border violence and DHS’ response to communities along the Southwest border.

The group held its inaugural meeting today at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, N.M., and is chaired by current HSAC chair and former CIA and FBI director Judge William Webster. The vice chairs are Jim Jones, former ambassador to Mexico and White House Chief of Staff, and Lupe Trevino, sheriff of Hidalgo County, Texas.

HSAC consists of experts from state, local and tribal governments, first responder communities, academia and the private sector and consults directly with Secretary Napolitano on homeland security issues.

The Southwest Border Task Force members include:

William “Bill” Webster (Chair) is a retired partner at Milbank, Tweed, Hadley, and McCloy. He previously served as Director of the CIA and FBI. Judge Webster is a member and chair of DHS’ Homeland Security Advisory Council.

James “Jim” Jones (Vice Chair) is Chairman and CEO of Mannatt Jones Global Strategies. He is a former U.S. Ambassador to Mexico, U.S. Congressman from Oklahoma, and White House Chief of Staff. 

Guadalupe “Lupe” Trevino (Vice Chair) is Sheriff of Hidalgo County, Texas. He currently serves on the State of Texas Homeland Security Office Mass Migration Committee and on the Executive Committee of the Texas Radio Interoperability Coalition.

Ruben Barrales is President and CEO of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce. He served in the White House for five years as deputy assistant to President George W. Bush, where he was the President’s liaison to state and local elected officials. 

Andrea Bazan is President of Triangle Community Foundation. She serves as Chair of the Board of Directors of the National Council of La Raza, and is a member of the Leadership Council of Hispanics in Philanthropy.

Robert “Rob” Bonner is a senior principal of the Sentinel HS Group, a homeland security consulting firm. He is also a partner of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, LLP. Bonner served as the first Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection. 

Ray Borane served as Mayor of Douglas, Ariz., from 1996-2008. Borane was also an FBI Special Agent and served as a Policy Advisor to the Governor of Arizona on border and immigration issues.

Raymond Cobos is Sheriff of Luna County, N.M. Cobos served as Detention Administrator and Undersheriff in Luna County prior to being elected Sheriff in 2006. Cobos is also a volunteer with the GED Tutor Literacy Program.

John Cook is Mayor of El Paso, Texas. Cook formerly served as president of the El Paso Health Care Facilities Financing Corporation and El Paso Housing Finance Corporation.

Jeffrey Davidow is President of the Institute of the Americas. He has served as the U.S. Ambassador to Mexico, Zambia, and Venezuela and as Assistant Secretary of State.

Richard Dayoub is President and CEO of Greater El Paso Chamber of Commerce. Dayoub previously was owner, president and CEO of a large regional travel company for nearly 30 years. 

Victor Flores is Director of Executive Projects at Arizona Public Service. He is currently a member of the State of Arizona Transportation Board, serves as president of the Arizona-Mexico Commission Board of Directors, and sits on boards at the Valley of the Sun United Way, the Children’s Action Alliance and Vision Quest 20/20.

Francis “Pancho” Kinney is Vice President for HNTB Federal. Kinney was previously DHS Deputy Director of International Affairs. Kinney is a Border Trade Alliance Board Member and Infrastructure Committee Chair.

Melvyn “Mel” Montano is a retired Major General in the U.S. Air National Guard and former Adjutant General of New Mexico.

Kenny Montoya is a Major General and Adjutant General for the New Mexico National Guard. He is also president of the State Armory Board and provides oversight for the New Mexico Civil Air Patrol.

Ned Norris, Jr. is Chairman of the Tohono O’odham Nation. Prior to his election, he worked with the Tohono O’odham Gaming Enterprise as Director of Marketing and Public Relations, Casino Manager and Director of Community Relations. 

Maria Luisa O’Connell is President and CEO of Border Trade Alliance (BTA). Prior to joining BTA in 1998, she was a financial analyst at Bank One International Corporation, and also worked for the National Federation of Merchants of Colombia.    

Ralph Ogden is currently serving in his fourth term as Sheriff of Yuma County, Arizona. Ogden is a member of numerous local organizations and serves as Chairman of the State of Arizona Homeland Security Coordinating Council. 

Evelyn M. Rodriguez is a physician and President and CEO of Rodriguez Health Consulting Services, LLC. She is a former captain of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps and worked on pharmaceutical drug safety at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. 

Robert “Bob” Ross is President and CEO of the California Endowment, a health foundation established in 1996 to address the health needs of Californians. He previously served as Director for the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency.

Jerry Sanders is Mayor of San Diego. Previously, Sanders served as San Diego Chief of Police from 1993-1999. After leaving the Police Department, Sanders became the CEO of United Way. In 2002, Sanders was appointed to the American Red Cross Board of Directors.

For more information about HSAC, please visit www.dhs.gov/hsac.

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